College of Law hosts swearing-in event
Law graduate Jehan Farrag takes an oath as she and 21 other graduates swear in as lawyers Wednesday night inside the College of Law building. Graduates were admitted to State Bar of Michigan, allowing them to practice law within the state. Justin Wan/The State News
Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars later, graduates from the MSU College of Law were able to celebrate passing the bar exam and beginning of their careers as lawyers after passing the bar exam by being sworn in by 30th Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina on Wednesday evening.
The 22 students who were sworn in recently passed the bar exam, an examination required to be admitted to practice law in the state of Michigan. According to a release, 87 percent of MSU Law first-time test takers on the July bar exam passed, exceeding the state average of 79 percent.
“Aside from personal relationship problems you have with maybe family or friends, taking the bar exam is absolutely the most stressful time,” said Zachary Risk, an MSU alumnus who was sworn in Wednesday. “You spend two and a half months of your summer (studying) when you graduate, and you think you’re free — but not quite.”
Risk said he would spend about 70 hours a week on average during the summer studying for the exam.
“That’s all you do. You get tired, and then you just repeat it the next day,” he said.
The college hosts a swearing-in event twice a year to coincide with the number of exams given, said Tina Casoli, director of the office of advancement at the College of Law.
“They can’t practice law unless they’re sworn in,” Casoli said. “(The ceremony) provides a nice service for them and allows them to get sworn in as easily as possible after they’ve passed the bar exam.”
The bar exam is broken up into two days, the first of which consists of 200 multiple choice questions that are standardized nationwide, said Devon Glass, associate director of alumni engagement at the College of Law. The second day of the exam is state-specific, and Michigan’s is one of the most rigorous in the country, he said.
“In Michigan, we have 15 essay questions that you have to respond to,” Glass said. “Most other states usually only have two or three essay questions — maybe five. Our 15 is by far one of the largest sets of essays across the country.”
Being sworn in is the beginning of the road of the careers for the graduates, he said.
“This is everything they’ve worked for in law school, this is the peak of those efforts,” Glass said. “Of course, once they begin practicing it’s a whole new game and a whole new mountain to climb.”
Waiting for the results made him just as nervous as taking the exam, Risk said.
“Then you have about two or three months to wait until you get your results to stress out about it,” he said.
Risk said passing the exam and being sworn in were some of the proudest moments for him and his family.
“It means a lot to everyone,” Risk said.
“It’s a little different for everyone, obviously. For me, my dad did a lot to get me here, (and) basically he supported my in every type of way that anyone can think of.”